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In our last study, we took a look at the difference between faith and religion so that we can have a better understanding of what faith is.  If you missed that study, I would certainly suggest that you also take time to go through it.  In this week’s study, we are going to take a look at faith and submission.

Faith is Submissive

Whether you realize this or not, faith, the nature of faith, is entirely submissive.  True faith is all about someone putting your complete trust in someone or to something.

Submitting one’s trust

So, when we talk about submission – or being submissive – many of us frown. Why? Because in our minds we will think of subservience: being obedient without raising any questions. We equate such thoughts and actions to slavery and nobody wants to be a slave of anybody.

For example, Paul wrote about submissive faith when discussing marriage in his letter to the Ephesians and the Colossians. In both letters, Paul wrote, “Wives, submit to your own husbands as is fitting to the Lord (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18). ” For years this has been a statement that many wives have frowned at because of our thoughts towards submission.

However, the follow up statement that Paul made within that passage is often ignored in both letters. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote of the husbands, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her (Eph. 5:25).” To the Colossians, Paul wrote of the husbands, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them (Col. 3:19).” Why did Paul say this to the husbands? Because love is also submissive. Paul was essentially telling both the husbands and wives to submit themselves to one another, and specifically to the husbands, not to act as oppressors.

So, why do I start this study off by speaking about marriage? Well, marriage is the coming together of two into a union of one; the two are to be committed to each other in total commitment; the two are to be totally dependent and faithful (trusting) in each other. Marriage is a union of submissive faith where the two come together in total submission to each other; if there is no submission from both parties, the marriage is doomed to fail.

I also bring up marriage because of what Paul said specifically of the husbands to the Ephesians. Did you notice the mention of Christ? It would be hard to ignore Paul’s mentioning of Christ. Christ, Paul stated, loved the church and gave Himself for her (the Church). So, let’s make a few notes.

Note: The Church – all of those who are and were true and sincere believers – will be married to Christ for all of eternity. This marriage is pictured in Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt. 22:1-14). The bride is also seen in the Revelation of Christ of the new heaven (Rev. 21:9-11). Because Christ is going to one day marry the Church, He will marry a submissive bride – one that lives to be committed to Him just as He will be committed to her.

With that note in mind, do you now understand the significance as to why we must move to be submissive in our faith in God? If not, we should understand that today, the Lord lives in total commitment to all of us who are said to be engaged to His only begotten Son. The Son, we should also understand, has already committed Himself to all of us through the act of giving Himself for us. If we join together in fellowship with the Lord, then we must also live in total commitment (submission) to Him.

Now, I hope you can understand the thought process behind submissive faith as the idea is about commitment. Yes, submission is about obedience and I also understand that such a thought is a turn off for many people. Why? Because many of us are under the impression that such submission takes away our free will. The problem with this thought is that, as we saw in my opening study of this series, God has given to us the free will to live and choose. The Lord will not ask for your total commitment just to take away your free will!

However, the thought still persists in the world that when one chooses to believe in the Lord, they don’t have free will. Many people choose not to believe in the Lord because the believe such a choice gives them the free will to do whatever they want to do. However, this choice is a choice of ignorance – a lack of understanding. Whether you choose to live in submission to the way of God or not, you are actually still choose to live under the authority of another.

The Two Rulers

Whether you realize it or not, there are two authorities that you can live under in the world in total submission. Jesus spoke of the reality that we actually live in today that many people fail to understand.

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:24 NKJV

Note: What Jesus establishes for us is that there are two masters that you end up choosing between to submit yourself to in obedience. Each master have their own doctrine (instructions) for one to live by.  One master, Jesus said, is mammon – material things, wealth, and riches of the world.  Since mammon is “the world”, we should understand that mammon is representative of sin. The other master, Jesus said, is God.

The choice boils down to whether or not you want to live under the authority of the Lord or sin? Both rulers, as you should be able to imagine, are drastically different because the nature of both rulers are drastically different.

Sin, as a ruler

Sin is an oppressive ruler with nothing of substance to offer anyone. Let’s consider this for a moment, what can sin offer to you? I want to turn to Satan’s temptation of Jesus to show you the one thing that sin can offer you.

In his temptation of Jesus, the devil commanded Jesus to turn stones into bread (Matt. 4:3). The devil did this under the guise of offering Jesus a means to satisfy His hunger; Jesus had been in the wilderness of Judea fasting for forty and forty nights. Now, don’t get distracted by this guise because the devil had an ulterior motive that Jesus instantly picked up on.

In His response, Jesus said to Satan that man should not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). Have you ever understood why Jesus gave that response to Satan? You see, Satan was desiring for Jesus to live by the world, whereas Jesus was telling Satan that He would live by the Word of God.

After tempting Jesus to put the Father to the test, Satan then took Jesus up high and showed Him the kingdom of the world. The devil did this with an offer of all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus bowed down and worship him (Matt. 4:8-9). Sin, the devil, all that they can offer are the riches of the world. Jesus told Satan to depart from Him as He turned down the offer because He was submissive to doing the Father’s will.

Sadly, many of us lose our soul in living in total submission to the promised riches of the world. Surely you have seen the grind and hustle to obtain the riches of the world. Maybe even you have and still do pursue the riches of the world with such a grind and hustle. Sadly, many of us fail to realize the emptiness of the riches of his world. Many have actually obtained great wealth and still hunger for what they cannot find – true joy.

The riches of this world cannot bring about contentment – rest for the soul. Why can’t it do so? Because everything of this world is temporary. The happiness, peace, love, and joy that is born of this world is temporary. The world itself is temporary as the Lord has promised its destruction. So, sadly, many people have lost themselves to the unending grind and hustle for the riches of this world. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon – a man of great wealth – said that such hard labor is vain (meaningless) and like trying to grasp the wind with ones hands (Eccl. 1:1-3, 14).

When many fail to obtain what the world has promised, they are left with a soul that is empty, wounded, or completely shattered. What does sin do to comfort the empty, wounded, and broken spirit? Nothing; it does nothing because it can’t do anything for the soul. If sin, the world, could do something for empty, wounded, and broken spirit it would also choose to do nothing.

Why do I say this? Because sin – the world – is an oppressive ruler. The world mocks those that fail. The world tells us that we must have did something wrong and to try to do something another way because it worked for others. All the while doing this, people are left in despair and depression as their soul crumbles. The world knows nothing about mercy and offering a helping and comforting hand, and the sad part about all of this is that many of those who are of the world simply accept living that way.

God, the sovereign ruler

The Lord is a completely different ruler than the world. Where the bondage of sin is oppressive, God is love. In the Lord’s love there is, rebuke (correction), guidance, uplifting, comfort, and much care.

The Lord did not create us to live with our souls being completely shattered. When the Lord saw the condition of our souls, He gave the world His only begotten Son as the Light of the World. To the children of Israel, when they were living under the oppressive rule of Egypt, He sent them Moses. The oppressive rule of sin is far greater and so the Lord had to send to the world far greater than Moses (Heb. 3:1-6).

Jesus sent out a great invitation to the world.

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV

Note: Notice the distinctions that Christ is making between His rule and the rule of the world. The kingdom of the world is an oppressive kingdom with an oppressive ruler whereas the kingdom of Christ is one of rest (peace and contentment). Living under the rule of sin comes with burdens to heavy to carry. Where the world would offer no means of comfort for your burdens, Christ offers to take them away so that you can live in peace with no burden.

Should you accept the invitation from Christ, Christ shared this information with us:

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32 NKJV

Let us make a note: Jesus has likened living under the rule of the world (sin) with living in bondage; it is oppressive and won’t let you out. Christ came into the kingdom of sin and invited us to follow Him out of sin’s kingdom and into His kingdom.

What does Christ offer to us? He offers to us peace. Now, I want you to understand that peace that is of the world is drastically different than peace that is of Christ. Joy and happiness that is of Christ is drastically different than joy and happiness that is of the world. What is the difference? The world is temporary whereas the kingdom of Christ is eternal (everlasting).

The world offers temporary riches where Christ offers everlasting riches. Does He offer us the riches of the world? Absolutely not.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV

A Servant of God

So, what does God ask of us to be able to enjoy His eternal riches?  God calls for us to follow the only begotten Son out of the kingdom of sin. To follow Christ away from sin requires one to let go of their love for the world. You see, some actually enjoy living in their selfish ambitions and grinding and hustling for the riches of the world.

Some are like the rich young ruler that struggled to let go of his riches to follow Christ into His kingdom. You see, the rich young ruler represented those who live in submission to wealth and cannot live in submission to the Lord. God asks for us to follow His Son without hesitation and doubt in our hearts as to where we are going. We must simply trust that Christ is leading us to our blessing – that is what submissive faith is all about.

Total submission to God

Submissive faith is total submission to the Lord.  What this means is that our faith should move without hesitance and doubt when it comes to God’s instructions.  We often end up missing out on blessings because of our doubt and hesitation.  So, we must totally submit ourselves to the Lord; we must trust in His will and put His will ahead of our own – God should come first!

One of the best examples that we find in scripture when it comes to total submission to God and His instructions can be seen in the story with Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22:1-19).  So, let us take a moment to go over this story and study it.

Many of us are very familiar with the story.  God instructed Abraham to take his “only son”, Isaac, to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains (Gen. 22:2).  A burnt offering was an offering that was a sign of one being committed to the Lord.  So, in other words, Abraham was to offer his son as a sacrifice to show that he was totally committed to the will of God.

Was Abraham happy to do this?  Actually, scripture does not really indicate to us the emotions of Abraham in this story but many of us assume that Abraham was not pleased to do this.  Honestly, when you read this passage of scripture, the one and only thing that is clear is that Abraham simply trusted the Lord in what He was being instructed to do.

I, personally, believe that Abraham was simply calm and resolute in this moment.  So, I believe his emotions were in check because he was living in submission to God’s will and there is a certain calm one has when they let go of their will for God’s will.

We see this calm kind of resolve in Abraham when Isaac was questioning his dad about the burnt offering.  Isaac noticed that they had no lamb for the burnt offering and as he was questioning his dad, Abraham calmly responded, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering (Gen. 22:6-8).”

Now, Abraham had said this one the thought being that Isaac would be in the place of the lamb for this burnt offering.  Little did Abraham know that God would provide for him and Isaac a ram caught in the thicket (Gen. 22:11-13).  I want you to understand that there was no hesitations in Abraham following God’s instructions as he was moving in total submission to the will of God.

Now, you should not take this total submission from Abraham lightly nor should you think that Abraham did not care about his son.  Abraham greatly desired to have a son!  So much so that he and Sarah, his wife, committed the sin of moving ahead of God’s will by having another son, prior to the birth of Isaac, through Hagar, the maid of Sarah (Gen. 16:1-4).

So, for Abraham to heed God’s instructions and prepare to offer up the blessing that was given to him by God, in Isaac, should show you the kind of faith we should have.  We should totally submit our will for God’s will; we should be living in total obedience of God’s way.  If you and I are not living in total obedience to God’s instructions, then what does that say about our faith?  Our faith is certainly not submissive if we are still holding on to our very own will.

At the end of this story, scripture shows us that there was a reward for Abraham’s submissive faith in God.  The Lord said to Abraham, “because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you… (Gen. 22:16-17).”

Through confirming his faith, the Lord made a promise to Abraham’s descendants but also to every other nation in which God promised that they will be blessed (Gen. 22:18).  This was a promise that was fulfilled when God gave the world His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would have everlasting life.  Yes, God is a master, but He is a master with a truly wonderful reward that awaits all of those that submit themselves (are obedient) to His rule.

So, we must assure ourselves that we are totally submissive in our faith to the Lord.  In other words, we need to assure ourselves that we are being totally obedient to God’s instructions without hesitating and doubting — we must submit our will for His will.

False submission to God

There are some who would say that they trust only in the Lord, however, they are not as committed to the Lord as they would like to believe; they are still committed to the world.  We have seen what Jesus said about one trying to love and serve two masters – it’s impossible to do.

Peter touched on those who know the right way but choose to forsake being obedient to the right way.  In his second letter, we will see that Peter said:

15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

2 Peter 2:15-16 NKJV

Let’s study about Balaam so that we can understand the way of Balaam.

Balaam was a fortune teller that the Lord spoke to in the book of Numbers.  He’s a very interesting character in scripture because he was not of Israel but the Lord still used him.  We need to take a look at Balaam in this study so that we can see why Peter said what he said about him and so that we can also see why he was rebuked.

The king of Moab, named Balak, called for Balaam because the children of Israel were camping in the plains of Moab.  (The children of Israel had just defeated the Amorites as they were wandering through the wilderness and making their way to the Promised Land).  Because of the fall of the Amorites and how large Israel were in comparison to Moab, the king called for Balaam so that the fortune teller could curse Israel (Num. 22:1-6).

So, the elders of Moab and Midian came to Balaam with the “diviner’s fee” fee in their hand and they spoke to Balaam about coming back to curse Israel.  Instead of going back with the people right away, Balaam spoke to the Lord, and God instructed him not to go back with the people nor to curse Israel because Israel was blessed (Num. 22:8-12).

Balaam, at that time, heeded the Lord’s instructions and all seemed right because he took the right course of action.  However, the king would send the people to Balaam again with the desire that he come to the king and curse Israel.  This time, Balaam responded, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more (Num. 22:15-18).”

Now, that response sounds very honorable, doesn’t it?  However, we cannot be so easily fooled here.  Why did Balaam mention the king giving him his house full of silver and gold?  At first glance, it would seem that he was saying that he could not be bought at any price, right?

However, we will notice that instead of sending the people away, immediately, Balaam chose to let them spend the night.  Why?  There was no need for them to spend the night this time around because Balaam had already received God’s answer on the matter.  Yet, he tells the people that he wanted to see if the Lord had changed His mind on the matter, when in actuality, God had not changed his mind and Balaam knew that (Num. 22:19).

So, Balaam, himself, was the one that desired to go back with the people to the king.  For what purpose?  Because Balaam desired something from the king; he had already thrown out there about a house full of silver and gold – Balaam wanted some riches.  For His part, God permits Balaam to go back with the men but Balaam was to only share the words with them that God had given to him.

Balaam woke up the next day with his heart set to go see the king.  Even though the Lord was allowing this to happen according to His permissive will, He was not happy with Balaam.  Scripture tells us that the Angel of the Lord (the preincarnate Christ) went and stood in the way as Balaam was making his way to the king.  This next section of scripture is what shows us the mindset and what truly was in the heart of Balaam (Num. 22:22-40).

When the Angel of God was blocking his path, the donkey perceived it before Balaam was able to perceive it!  The donkey turns and starts to run off path with Balaam striking it to try and force it back on path.  Eventually, the donkey crashed and Balaam was furious with the animal; he beat the animal but the animal refused to move because it was able to perceive that the Angel of the Lord was blocking the way.

Let me just say that when an animal is able to perceive God before you do, it says a great deal about where you are spiritually.  To get Balaam’s attention, the Angel of the Lord spoke through the donkey!  After a back and forth, Balaam’s spiritual eyes were finally open to what the donkey was able to perceive and he was able to perceive the Angel of the Lord.

Balaam’s spiritual sight – his discernment – was blocked because what was truly on his mind was the mammon rather than the Lord; he was putting his desires over God’s desire.  Balaam was supposed to be doing work on behalf of the Lord but he was so caught up in the world that the Lord had to block his path to get him back on track – he had to be rebuked.  As Peter said, our submission to the Lord must not be a false one; we should not forsake the right way and go astray because of a love for the wages of unrighteousness.

The slave of God’s reward

Paul, throughout his letters, always spoke of himself as either a servant of the Lord or a slave of God.  Paul lived his days by being totally submissive to the will of God.  Though, even for Paul, there were several moments in time where the Lord had to block Paul’s self desire so as to keep him on track.  That said, there is a great reward for all of those that live in total submission to the Lord.

We as true believers must have the faith of Abraham – no hesitation and no doubt.  Abraham dwelt in a good land and ended up having Isaac, who begat Jacob (Israel), through whose lineage Christ was born. Paul spoke about fighting the good fight of faith, running the race of faith, and how there is an imperishable crown that awaits all of those who live in the faith of total submission (obedience) to the way of God (1 Cor. 9:24-27). When you live with the faith of Abraham, great is your reward in the Lord.

I would suggest to you that Psalm 23 speaks of one who has chosen to live in total submission to the Lord and we see their reward. When we live in total submission to God, we don’t have to want for anything. When we live in total submission to the Lord, we are lead out into His pastures and besides still waters – there is peace. When we live in total submission to the Lord, there is a table made for us in the presence of our enemies, and we will feast before their eyes – we are greatly blessed rather than beat down over and over again by an oppressive master.

The one thing that I hope you take away from this study is about having an understanding in submissive faith; we should live in total submission to the instructions of the Lord.  Living in total obedience to the way of God is a true sign of one’s faith.  Obedience to the way of God, again, puts religion to shame as one is choosing to live by the way of God by their own free will.  Submission to God, putting His will over your own will is what pleases the Lord (Heb. 11:6).


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